Frederic Elsner: “Expectations were absolutely exceeded in the first half of the season”

DTM Series Manager Frederic Elsner believes that the 2022 season so far has exceeded expectations.

Speaking at the halfway stage of the season, Elsner, the director for the event and operations said, “Looking at the development, the way in which things were going this year in terms of quality and quantity of the drivers, teams, and manufacturers, a high level of internationality, it was clear already that it was going to look really good for the upcoming season.

“But expectations were absolutely exceeded in the first half of the season. Everyone is a full-blown professional in his or her own field, be it a driver, engineer, mechanic, that is clear to notice, and this huge respect and the fair interaction have fascinated me”.

This year’s Norisring round did open up the series to renewed criticism, however. Race one on the small 1.4-mile track was littered with incidents, causing 16 cars to retire. As a result, driving standards were a hot topic of discussion following the event.

Carnage at turn one at the Norisring. Photo Credit: DTM

Elsner had this to say on that particular afternoon, “Saturday at Norisring had its own rules. The morning after, there was a very clear statement by race control in which these issues were addressed. There, it was made really clear how one has to behave at the track and from which perspective race control will be dealing with these issues in future.

“But, after the relatively hefty Saturday, we have seen on Sunday that they are all professionals, we had good and fair racing. For me, it was good to see that an issue comes up, the issue is dealt with, and the issue is solved”.

A number of new regulations were introduced for this year’s championship, including an extensive ban on team orders and a change allowing teams to complete their mandatory pit stop under the safety car.

Elsner suggests these changes have had a positive impact on the series. He said, “We really looked into many things from last year where we wanted to see what we could do better, what perhaps would make more sense in a different way.

“I am mostly satisfied with every one of these modifications, they all had the effect that we wanted. The only issue that was brought up to us from the driver’s perspective is the starting lights. This, we will be looking into to find out whether something needs to be changed for 2023”.

With the series in its summer break before the next round at the Nürburgring. Elsner is looking ahead, “We are particularly busy with strategic issues for 2023 and of course with the race schedule as well. And we are busy with the general framework for drivers, teams, and manufacturers for the future, for instance with questions like, how many cars per team will there be in the future?

“Of course, we are still very much occupied with the current season, but we are also already looking at how to become even better for our fans in 2023”.